Pre-European history points to human settlements that
existed around 10,000 years before the beginning of the
Christian era. Around 400 BC Settled groups lived on
what is now the state territory, which carried out field
construction and produced simple two-tone ceramics.
Around 300 AD multicolored ceramics were created, which
are now used as evidence of the regional cultures.
At the beginning of the 16th century, the Spaniard
Vasco Nunez de Balboa was the first European to cross
the Isthmus of Dari¨¦n and took possession of the Pacific
Ocean as the "South Pacific" for the Spanish crown. The
local princes of the Azuero and Veraguas peninsulas were
subjugated, and Panama developed into an important
interface in trade between the Spanish royal state and
its American colonies. Negro slaves were brought into
the country to work in the plantations. Escaped slaves,
too, who fled into the forests of Dari¨¦n as "Cimarrones"
and founded their own settlements there. They were
settled in Pacorah as free citizens in the second half
of the 16th century. In 1793, Panama became part of the
Viceroyalty of Santa Fe.
Independence and Panama Canal
In 1821, the former colony declared independence and
joined the neighboring country of Colombia, under which
it enjoyed a high degree of independence as a province.
As early as 1855, the United States had linked the
Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through a railroad line, the
construction of which had attracted numerous Chinese
workers for five years. Many of them lost their lives in
the country's inhospitable primeval forests. However,
the desire to shorten the long sea route around Cape
Horn from the east to the west coast of the USA with a
navigable canal was only realized when a French stock
corporation bought the railway line and began a
breakthrough in the 1880s through the isthmus of Panama.
According to plans by the builder of the Suez Canal,
Ferdinand Lesseps (1805-1894), The project was run for
nine years with the money from French investors. The
canal was completed and opened in 1914.
The Republic of Panama was largely financed in the
following decades through the services and leases paid
for the use of the canal. From the 1930s, however,
efforts by Panamanian citizens began, aimed at the
sovereignty of the state and the return of the canal.
The United States gave way by first increasing annual
interest rates and granting the country a very limited
sovereignty in 1954. Panama's nominal sovereignty was
recognized in 1960 and negotiations on the status of the
Canal Zone began in 1964, but did not lead to an
In 1968, incumbent President A. Arias was overthrown
by the National Guard and a junta under O. Torrijos
Herrera tried to give the country new impetus through
economic and social reforms. In 1974 a treaty was signed
on the Panama Canal, and in 1977 it was finally agreed
with the United States that the canal would become
Panamanian sovereignty at the end of 1999. In 1989, US
troops intervened to imprison General Noriega, the
military ruler accused of drug trafficking.
Developments since 1990
According to AbbreviationFinder,
democracy was restored in 1990 and Ernesto Perez Balladares Gonzalez Revilla was elected President in
1994. Radical economic reforms began under his
presidency. After the second free elections after 1990,
Mireya Moscoso, the widow of President Arias, who died
in 1968, became the country's first female president in
2000. At the end of 1999, the Panama Canal was returned
on schedule and the military bases in the country were
dissolved. The most important waterway between the
Atlantic and the Pacific is now owned by Panama after
almost a century.
Mart¨ªn Torrijos Espino, son of the former dictator
Omar Torrijos and member of the "Revolutionary
Democratic Party" (PRD), won the 2004 presidential
election. Plans to reform social security led to violent
protests by the population in 2005. The expansion of the
Panama Canal, which had been discussed for many years,
in order to make it navigable for modern container ships
and tankers, was decided in a referendum in October
2006. In 2000 Ricardo Martinelli, the new head of state
and government, took office. He was replaced in 2014 by
the previous vice president and entrepreneur Ju¨¢n Carlos